Game 146: Moore Off, Offense Gets Too Little, Too Late as Rays Lose Series to Yankees

By Robbie Knopf

For the second straight game, the Rays managed a late rally. And for the second straight time, they lost.

Matt Moore looked great early on for the Rays, striking out 4 over the first 2 innings while allowing just a walk and a hit batsman. Hiroki Kuroda was even better, striking out 6 in the first 2 innings working around a Ben Zobrist double in the 1st, and upping his strikeout count to 7 after 3 innings. But Moore could not keep pace as he completely imploded in the 3rd. Moore began the inning by working the Yankees’ 9th hitter, Eduardo Nunez, who stole second base. Moore then allowed a single to center by Derek Jeter and B.J. Upton futilely threw home trying to get the speedy Nunez, allowing Jeter to take second base on the play. Two batters later, Alex Rodriguez singled in Jeter before Moore walked Cano as Rodriguez stole third base. And then Russell Martin really made Moore pay, coming back from an 0-2 count to make it 3-2 before taking a Moore fastball that was up and away to the opposite field for a back-breaking 2-run home run to make it 5-0 Yankees. Maddon got ejected later in the inning after Moore, who had completely lost control, threw a pitch that ended up going over Curtis Granderson’s head, prompting the home plate umpire to warn both benches, prompting an argument from Maddon in the duguout and an immediate ejection. Maddon did come out and get his money’s worth.

Ben Zobrist homered off Kuroda to begin the 4th inning to make it 5-1 before Moore departed after just 3 innings. Brandon Gomes allowed an Alex Rodriguez sac fly to make it 6-1. Only in the 6th did the Rays come back in earnest, with the offense rallying against Kuroda. In the 6th, two walks sandwiched around a single loaded the bases before Evan Longoria hit a groundball that looked like a tailor-made 5-4-3 double play before a wicked hop took it 8 feet in the air and over Rodriguez’s head for a 2-run single. Matthew Joyce then grounded into a double play, but a 3rd run came across in the inning to make it 6-4. Kuroda went 6 innings allowing 4 runs on 4 hits, striking out 10 while walking 2.

Wade Davis, J.P. Howell, and Burke Badenhop allowed just 1 hit and no walks from the 6th to the 8th, with Davis working 1.2 perfect innings and striking out 4 of the 5 batters he faced, but the Rays stranded a pair in the 7th inning before wasting a Rodriguez error in the 9th as they lost 6-4. Kuroda (14-10) got the win, Moore (10-11) took the loss in the shortest outing of his career, and Rafael Soriano earned his 40th save. The Rays close out a horrific 1-5 road trip and desperately need a complete 180 as they start a 4-game set with the Red Sox at home. Alex Cobb faces off against Aaron Cook in the opener.